Fill in this pair of blanks as John McCain contrasts himself with his opponent: "I am a Reagan Republican who will defeat Al Gore. Unfortunately, Gov. Bush is a _____________ who will ____________ Al Gore."
Send your answer by noon ET Wednesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday's Question (No. 390)—"Digni-Tease":
"They had a record of doing it with dignity," said Tom McNaught of the Kennedy Library Foundation about its partner on a new project. Who are "they," and what's this new dignified joint venture?
"The new PT-109 theme chain of Hooters restaurants."—Evan Cornog (Dave Cameron and Floyd Elliot had similar answers.)
"Fox TV, partners in the new 'real-life' special, Who Wants To Be Date-Raped by a Kennedy?"—Katha Pollitt (similarly, Mark Shotzberger)
" 'They' of course, are the Catholic Church. The joint venture is a new chapter in the Bible, 'The Book of Jackie.' "—Larry Amoros
"Yeah, I've seen the bumper sticker: 'Gay Catholics Do It With Dignity,' but really, who thinks about dignity?"—John Yanosko
"Some stuffy people, who are hard to imagine having sex, perhaps British, because of that whole stiff-upper-lip image; something sex-related that's a real stretch to imagine applying to the Kennedy Library Foundation but provokes a cheap giggle nonetheless."—Francis Heaney
Click for more answers.
Of all the reasons to reappraise JFK, none touches on more aspects of his character than his affection for the books of Ian Fleming—Bond, James Bond—a curious appetite for a president with such high culture affections. It was he, remember, who was always inviting Pablo Casals and Robert Frost to dinner at the White House, where, after the sorbet, they were egged on until they stripped to the waist for some bare-knuckle boxing; the winner won Angie Dickinson. This is the same president who preened because his wife was not just an upper-class lay-about, but an upper-class lay-about in French clothing who spoke French to Frenchmen. Even Bill Clinton, whose only expressed preference for French culture is the fry, pretends to loftier literary pleasures, and at least acts like he enjoys the ponderous twaddle spouted at Renaissance Weekend, that ad hoc Club Med of an intellectual gathering.
Returning this morning to the 1956 Diamonds Are Forever for the first time since President Kennedy encouraged my generation of children to seek out these thrills (and then, sated, get out there and put a man on the moon), what was surprising was not Fleming's worldview, pretty much that of early Vegas-era Frank Sinatra seeking global hegemony for the Rat Pack, but how much the book is about food. Early on, his American pal Felix Leiter takes Bond to lunch at Sardi's (!) because, "This is one of the best places in town for beef, and Brizzola's the best cut of that, straight cut to the bone. Roasted and then broiled." A few pages later, sex bomb Tiffany Case cautions 007 that "It'd take more than Crabmeat Ravigote to get me into bed." And all too soon Leiter's back in the picture, and "The broiled lobsters arrived and they went to work with their nutcrackers." (Presumably "they" is Bond and Felix and not the wily crustaceans.) James Bond—food bore. The true triumph of this sort of thing—and the reason we no longer need it or Playboy magazine—is neither the sexual revolution nor the breakup of the Soviet Union: it's that more and more Americans can now get a pretty decent meal more and more places. At last, Bond can hang up his gun and toque.
Life in Sparta Answer
Dignified toy-maker Hasbro Inc. is teaming up with the Kennedy Library to produce a JFK GI Joe doll.
The foot-high doll dressed in PT-109 fatigues will hold a coconut shard bearing a rescue plea Kennedy carved after the Japanese sank his boat in World War II. His hair will be molded in plastic and painted a light brown, and he will carry a knife.
Judith Exner doll sold separately. Embarrassment over the Bay of Pigs invasion sold separately. Ludicrous failed Castro assassination plots sold separately. Foot-dragging entry into the civil rights movement sold separately. Start of the Vietnam War sold separately. Chicago's presidential votes sold separately to Joe four decades ago.
GI Joes have already been modeled on Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and Colin Powell.
Parts Left Out of the Party Extra
It was a pleasure to meet so many of you last night, and the bill for the damages was much lower than the original estimate. (Firemen can be such hysterics.) Somehow, the moment never seemed right to announce my engagement to Miss Ellen Barkin (what with our never having met) or to read these amusing expressions of regret sent in by a few regulars who couldn't join us.
- Dear fellow participants in the News Quiz,
How I long to be there with you, buying my own drinks and my own food, leaving my own tips and then later, God willing, hailing and paying for my own cab and hotel room, transportation to the airport, and plane ticket home. Talk about a rollicking good time. God Bless You and our hero Randy Cohen.—Love, Merrill Markoe (written before Slate came through with that party money)
- Sorry I couldn't be there in person, but I am there in spirit. Which is to say, I've been drinking heavily. I hope the East Coast party is going swimmingly; the West Coast one last night was a smashing success. Debbie Allen choreographed the musical numbers, and her salsa salute to Chris Kelly received a standing ovation. Give my best to the assembled participants, and after you're done reading this aloud, come up to them privately and tell each one that they're my favorite. Thanks.—Tim Carvell
- I wish I could be there, and I hope you all have a great time, laughing, drinking, carousing, enjoying yourselves, but remember: David Eggers' parents are dead.—Chris Kelly
Book Note Extra
Mirth of a Nation, a humor anthology edited by Michael Rosen, director of Thurber House, has just been published by Perennial. It includes several News Quizzes. Should the check ever arrive, those tiny proceeds will be used to buy even better drinks at the next quiz party, drinks with carbon fibers and streaming video, wireless drinks that slip easily into pocket or purse, need no ironing, and are paba-free. Or maybe pretzels. Everybody likes pretzels. Pretzels are a uniter not a divider.